Category Archives: Healthcare

Reporting back on the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 – Part 4

Thanks to our dedicated group of riders and their donors, the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 raised more money in sponsorship than ever imagined.

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Preparing to set off from Horizon Lodge

The ride finished on 31st January 2015. By mid-March we thought a total of £16,000 had come in. This far exceeded the original £1,000 that each rider had been challenged to find, on top of paying for their own flights, travel insurance and the cost of their food, accommodation, transfers and horses.

Waterberg Charity Ride sets off from Horizon
Riders and guides ready to set off from Horizon Horseback on Triple B Ranch in the Waterberg

However thanks to press coverage and huge generosity from supporters, cheques and Justgiving.com donations have kept coming in. One rider raised funds by selling some of her shoes, another, who lives in deepest darkest Herefordshire asked her friends to help her to sell home-grown mistletoe for Christmas decorations. A rider from Perthshire in Scotland threw a party and asked for sponsorship instead of gifts for her 50th Birthday.

Perthshire Advertiser

Together with some matched funding and the Gift Aid now recovered we are able to send £22,784 to help people of the Waterberg. Of this sum £10,000 is allocated for the education of children in need and £12,784 for training auxiliary nurses, in line with the requests received from the donors themselves. If more money comes in, we will forward it to South Africa where it really will transform lives. Our Justgiving.com page is still open!

Two boys at Kids Club
Children of the Waterberg

It is a huge amount, received with enormous gratitude. The riders were all so enthusiastic and all gave so much of themselves.  A sponsored ride demands a great deal. The effort involved isn’t immediately apparent as it ranges from getting fit to organising fund-raising activities while making arrangements for animals and families to be looked after in the rider’s absence. It wasn’t quite the same as going on holiday!

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Torrential rain at the end of the ride!

The organisers of the Waterberg Charity Ride would like to extend their grateful thanks to all those who supported the challenge in the Waterberg, especially Laura Dowinton, the directors, guides, drivers and staff at Horizon Horseback Adventures who hosted the ride.

The lodge at Horizon Horseback
The lodge at Horizon Horseback

We owe thanks to David Baber for allowing us to traverse Summer Place Farm and Koshari Game Reserve who put the riders up for the first two nights, amazing us with the sight of a debra – a cross between a donkey and zebra.

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A tame debra on Koshari Game Reserve

The riders were not only guided through Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Game Reserves, where they learnt about wildlife management, but were treated to a drinks party where they met an orphaned rhino and his friend before being driven off to find four more white rhino in the bush, which was very special.

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White rhino in a mud wallow at Ant’s Nest

The group arrived at Lindani soaking wet from having ridden through a rain storm and were grateful for comfortable beds and hot showers.

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Coping with wet equipment

Refreshed by swims in the pool and the sight of great herds of game the next day, spirits were high by the time the riders reached Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River. After a tough climb up the escapement they were greeted by a well deserved lunch.

Feeling the miles covered!
Feeling the miles covered!

After spending a night at Kingfisher Cottage where they watched hippo wallowing in the river, the riders pressed on to the most northerly point on the property and were truly grateful for the hospitality extended to them by everyone who looked after them at Jembisa Bush Home at the end of the ride.

Arriving at Jembisa after a long day in the saddle
Arriving at Jembisa after a long day in the saddle

The lodge staff at Jembisa put on a special celebratory dinner under the stars, relished by the hungry riders. We worked out that they had covered approximately 200km on their exploratory journey across the Waterberg Plateau from the Melk River to the Palala River.

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The group much enjoyed visiting the Waterberg Welfare Society hospice where they met nurses, staff inspiring to become nurses and a number of young people at Timothy House who entertained us with cultural dancing.

Cultural Dancers
Cultural Dancers at WWS

The support and enthusiasm we were given has spurred us on to consider mounting other rides next year! Contact us via the Comments box if you’d like to come.

One of the riders wrote saying, ‘Thank Goodness I had that wonderful adventure in January with you r riding safari in the Waterberg – it was so much fun and such lovely people! An experience of a life time!’

Sophie Neville in South Africa

Reporting back on the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015

Waterberg Charity Ride sets off from HorizonTen riders from Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland and the Netherlands gathered at Horizon Horseback Safaris on 25th January 2015.

Sarah Potter

After an evening ride to ensure everyone was happy with their mounts,

Kate we set off over the hills, taking on the challenge to find a route across the Waterberg plateau on horseback. Our week in the saddle proved quite an adventure.

Leading the Waterberg Charity Ride We had some wonderful game viewing.

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Being on horseback we could get remarkably close to animals

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especially zebra used to grazing with the horses.

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Some sections were challenging

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and we crossed through territory new to the horses.

Crossing a streamThere were other stretches where we pushed on

Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 and picked up speed.

A fast section There were mornings when we cantered for miles, afternoons when we had to dismount to walk up stony hillsides – all be good for the inner thigh.

A challenging section of the Waterberg Charity RideWe found ourselves going through very beautiful country.

a beautiful section of the Watberg Charity Ride We spent long days in the heat,

Alex with zebra

but it was high summer in South Africa and the bush was verdant.

groupandlandscape005_zps12ba856cMaking our way through the game rserves, crossing rivers

groupandlandscape030_zpscc9589f6 and plains where herds of wild animals were grazing was exciting.

sophie000b_zps31e9891dWe rode with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthog, jackal, red heartebeest, blesbok, impala, greater kudu, waterbuck, mountain reed buck, duiker, eland, oryx and saw nyala, sable, springbok, baboon, vervet monkey, slender mongoose, tree squirrel, ostrich, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, crocodile and even a debra – the hybrid foal of a zebra mare and donkey stallion.

Game viewing on the Waterberg Charity Ride We saw amazing creatures, great

White rhino at Ant's Nest and small.

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Some saw sable antelope

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and we even came across other horses, grazing in the Africa bush.

sparkie002_zpsd0da621a After six days on horseback we made it to the Palala River and could celebrate the fact that we had covered somewhere in the region of 200kms.

Bucks fizz Everyone agreed that it had been a great expedition accomplished by a wonderful team.

ready to goBefore flying home we had time to meet staff at the Waterberg Welfare Society

Learning about WWS and see around the hospice and Timothy House children’s centre.

The Waterberg Charity Ride visits WWS Very many thanks go to all those who sponsored the riders and supported such a good cause. Funds are still coming in but we hope to let you know the total raised soon and report on the details of projects we will be able to finance. The riders all paid their own expenses and brought generous donations, with gifts for the local children.

Alex's donation I was able to take beautiful books, stationary and clothing to the farm school where they were very much appreciated.

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If you would like to add a donation via our Justgiving page please click here.

Grateful hanks also go to those who hosted us and looked after the riders so beautifully: Horizon Horseback Safaris, Koshari Game Reserve, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill, Lindani Game Reserve and Jembisa, who treated us to dinner under the stars on our last night.

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If you would like to join us on another Waterberg Charity Ride, please contact us using the Comments box below.

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World AIDS Day

1st December is World AIDS Day!

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Our aim at the Waterberg Welfare Society Trust is to do all we can to help the people cope with the pandemic in rural areas of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

To read more about community projects we support, please click here

To read more about how some children are being helped, please click here

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If you would like to get involved in fundraising, we’d love to hear from you!

Please email: Sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Helping at WWS on Christmas Day
Helping on Christmas Day

 If you would like to make a donation we have a Justgiving page here

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Waterberg Charity Ride in January 2015

Would you like to join us on a sponsored ride through the Waterberg in South Africa to raise funds for the Waterberg Welfare Society Trust?

Are you up for an adventure?

We are looking for riders!

Horizon Horseback Adventures have kindly offered to organise a special safari, taking riders through private game reserves, whose owners have generously offered to host our party. 

zebs cantering

 

It will be an exploratory venture, indeed a unique opportunity to ride alongside wild animals in this beautiful area, now proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere. The group will be led by Sophie Neville, who became a horse safari guide in the Waterberg back in 1992, and is now a trustee of WWST.

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Dates: Sunday 25th January 2015 – to – Saturday 31st January 2015 

This enables anyone from the UK to depart from Heathrow on Saturday 24th January and arrive back in the UK on Sunday 1st February.

Giraffe on safari

 

DAY 1: You will be collected from O.R Tambo international airport, Johannesburg and driven north to Horizon safari lodge (approx. 2.5 hours) in time for lunch. In the afternoon we will enjoy a short introductory ride to ensure everyone’s horses are suitable and stirrups are set correctly.

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Horizon’s first passion is its horses and the adjoining landscape is heaven for riders. Miles of sandy tracks enable us to take long canters, while keeping an eye out for wildlife. Our first night will be spent on Triple B Ranch, a traditional homestead in the heart of the Waterberg biosphere reserve.

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DAY 2: We’re off! Today we will ride from Horizon lodge to Koshari game ranch, a 1300ha reserve that will whet your appetite for all things ‘Waterberg’.  The area is home to a large number of animal species as well as 250 species of bird. We have a good chance of seeing plains game including giraffe, zebra and many antelope – and will take time to view the buffalo.  The night will be spent in tented accommodation at Koshari with an authentic African dinner served under the stars.

x Sophie Neville on Jigsaw in the Waterberg 1

 

Day 3: Today we will enjoy a full day ride on Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill private game reserve. The diverse topography means that it supports over 40 species of game including giraffe, white rhino, sable antelope, buffalo, nyala, gemsbok (Oryx), kudu, Livingstone eland, blue wildebeest (gnu), red hartebeest, zebra, impala, bushbuck, duiker, steenbuck, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, warthog, blesbuck, baboons, bush-pig, klipspringer, leopard, jackal and brown hyena to name but no lion!

x Sophie Neville at Touchstone 1

We should be able to fit in a swim with the horse before arriving back at Koshari in time for a much-needed sundowner drink and another night’s camping.

Swimming horse

 

DAY 4: Today we will ride from Ant’s reserve to Lindani. This stunning 3,800ha game farm and safari lodge offers another brilliant game viewing opportunity as well as fantastic going for the horses. With large areas of open savannah bushveld and gently winding sandy tracks, that stretch for many kilometres, some fun will surely be had here!

x Sophie Neville on Jembisa

 

That night at Lindani we will be joined by resident astronomer Dr Phil Calcott who will lead us on a ‘night sky safari’. In this hugely informative and engaging presentation you will learn about constellations, the life-cycle of stars and be able to see the planets ‘live’ with the help of impressive telescopic equipment.  The Waterberg is a fantastic site from which to star-gaze as there is no light pollution and Dr Phil’s comedic style will have you all leaving as budding astronomers.

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DAY 5: From Lindani we ride to Jembisa, a private reserve and lodge that looks down over the Palala river. The ride into Jembisa will take us across open savannah and wetlands and down into the Palala Valley where the river has cut a deep gorge into the sandstone.

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From the Palala River we will ride on, up the bank and into Syringa woodland and mixed bushveld. Here we can try to track giraffe as we make our way past iron age archaeological sites.

Giraffe

 

Jembisa occupies a beautiful and dramatic spot in the Waterberg wilderness where a wide variety of wildlife and bird species can be seen. The lodge offers saddle weary travellers the chance to swim or have a massage and is much celebrated for its excellent food.

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DAY 6: Today we ride from Jembisa  back to our starting point – Horizon Horseback. It’s a long, long way, so this will be the most challenging leg of the journey.

x Sophie Neville with white Arab 1

 

Hopefully we will arrive in time for sundowners on the plains where zebra and antelope graze with the horses.

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The atmosphere of the lodge and its team of passionate and friendly staff will make you feel instantly at home. Enchanting entertainment courtesy of the Sotho choir is planned – the perfect accompaniment to an African sunset.

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DAY 7: Unless you want to collapse by the pool, our last morning will be spent riding in the game reserve at Horizon where once again we have a great chance of viewing animals including giraffe, zebra, impala, kudu, warthog and even hippo.

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The ride will be followed by lunch and a trip to the Waterberg Welfare Society visitor centre at Timothy House, Vaalwater to meet some of the recipients of your generous sponsorship. This is, after all, what this ride is really about!

Happy faces

 

Waterberg Welfare Society ~

The cost of safari itself is £1500, per person sharing. This includes airport transfers, riding, accommodation, food and drinks. It does not include flights, tips or travel insurance – which you will need.

To secure your place Horizon will require a non-returnable deposit of £500. The balance of £1,000 must have been paid 6 weeks in advance to Horizon Horseback before the trip commences.

Sophie painting in SA

 

If you have any questions or would like to book your place, please contact Sophie Neville ~ sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

To participate you need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1000 for the Waterberg Welfare Society Trust. As a registered UK charity, Gift Aid can then be added.

We can help you with fundraising ideas.

While we encourage riders to find sponsorship some of us are raising the donation of £1,000 in other ways such as hosting a sale or asking for donations instead of birthday gifts and then gaining matched funding.

makeapage_your_white justgiving

To make your own Justgiving page – please click here

To see Sophie’s Justgiving page as an example – click here

You will need to get fit as we may be covering 30km to 50kms a day. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveldt will be green and antelope will have young at foot. It can be hot and sunny or can be overcast and rainy but will not get cold.

To read about the horses please click here

To see more photos of what to expect please click here

The itinerary may change – but hopefully only for the better!

The Waterberg Map

 

Click here for where we are in South Africa

Information on the camps:

Horizon Horseback ~ website: www.ridinginafrica.com

Triple B Ranch ~ website: www.waterbergcottages.co.za

Koshari Game Reserve  ~ website:  http://www.koshari.co.za

The Ant Collection ~ website: http://www.waterberg.net

Lindani ~ website: http://www.lindani.co.za

Night Sky Safari ~ website www.greatguides.org (astronomy)

Jembisa ~ website: www.jembisa.com

x Sophie Neville on Touchstone6

 

Flights and Transfers:

We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre.

NB: please book flights that arrive in S.Africa no later than 9.00am and depart from Johannesburg no earlier than 7.00pm. Should you need to arrive late or depart early, a private transfer will be supplied at additional cost.

Make your way to the information desk in the arrivals hall where you will be met and driven to the Horizon safari lodge for lunch.

At the end of the safari we will arrive at Johannesburg airport at 5pm suitable for all flights departing after 7 pm.

Do I need a visa? You must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return date and has at least 3 blank pages. Visas are not needed for those with British passports. Please check if you come from elsewhere.

What vaccinations do I need? Vaccinations and malaria medications are not required however we recommend your tetanus to be up to date.

Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes, hard hats are mandatory and you will not be able to ride without one.  We can provide helmets, but suggest you bring their own. We do not provide half-chaps but might have the odd pair extra should they be needed.

What should I bring? As well as comfortable riding clothes and your hard hat, please bring the following; Bum bag, lip salve, strong sun protection cream factor 20 or higher, short boots and chaps. (Long rubber boots are not advised), swimming costume, light weight long sleeved shirts, raincoat,  camera with memory cards and camera batteries, small torch (head torch style highly recommended) your own towels and toiletries.

What is the pace of the riding? This safari is for fit, experienced riders. You must be someone who rides at least twice a week, be comfortable at an extended canter and be able to cope with long hours in the saddle.

What is included in the package price? Accommodation, riding, meals, all beverages including house wines and a selection of spirits. The cost does not include international air flights, travel insurance or gratuities.

Is there a laundry service? We will be able to offer a limited laundry service when packing do bear this  in mind as it helps not to have too much luggage.  We can normally turn laundry around within 48 hours (excluding the 30 or so days a year that it rains!)

What is the accommodation like? This will vary from A-frame tents with beds, sheets and duvets and ensuite bathrooms to comfortable guest houses with shared bathrooms. Meals are picnic lunches and evening meals cooked around the fire.

Single supplements? Bookings are taken on a ‘willing to share basis’. If you want a single room there would be 50% supplement.

What are the horses and tack like ? The horses have been selected for their temperament and rideability and all walk-out. They have been carefully chosen from the various South African breeds, which are well known for being of a tougher nature – able to cope under extreme conditions. These breeds include the Boerperd, Shire- cross-Thoroughbreds, Appalosas, and the S.A. Warmblood. They range in size from 14.3h. to 17h. Tack is McClellan trail saddles and snaffle bridles

Do cell phones work?  Yes in most places although there will be areas of no coverage

Useful contact numbers: Please give loved ones who may need to contact you for any reason can contact Laura on 0027(0)83-4191929 or laura@ridinginafrica.com.

In the case of a badly delayed flight: please dial 0027(0)834191929 during the day and after hours on +27(0)14755-4009.

Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money into the local currency as your holiday is fully inclusive – however there is a local craft shop! Gratuities are at your discretion and can be paid in pounds, euros or dollars.

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Could you give a slide show to raise funds for TWT?

 

Kids at The Waterberg Welfare Society in South Africa

Could you use your photographs to give an illustrated talk at a club or church near you?

It is good fun telling people about a journey you’ve been on or a project you’ve been involved with and Power Point Presentation programmes make illustrating your story easy.

If this seems daunting, you could always host a dinner and ask WWST to provide a speaker. (Please use the comments below)

On Saturday 20th September ~ a UK supporter of WWST is hosting an evening with the combined yacht clubs of Cowes at the Royal London Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight. Cocktails and canapes will be served, followed by dinner and an illustrated talk given by WWST Trustee Sophie Neville, to raise money for the Waterberg Welfare Society’s projects combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

What could you do?

A child supported by WWS in South Africa

 

 

 

Latest news about projects running in the Waterberg

The Hall of Joy at Timothy House was officially opened by the Japanese Embassy and the Mayor of Modimolle. The event was well attended by local dignitaries. This Hall is used for morning activities with the pre-school children and after school activities for those on the Youth Programme.

Cultural Dancers

Stepping Forward ran a very successful campaign Lesodi Village where the reception was incredible. The programme has the potential to have a massive impact on this area as the community are open to the Stepping Forward team and are willing to hear the message of HIV prevention and awareness. Part of the founder’s original vision was to reach such very rural communities surrounding Vaalwater and they were thrilled to hear about the success of this project.

Just one of the guys

 

The Boys2Men soccer team have done extremely well and received a lot of interest, getting to the Nedbank Cup final.

Training sessions in Social Media, Advocacy and Monitoring & Evaluation and Fundraising is being supported by Canadian CBTAF (Technical Aid Fund).

Waterberg Waves are recording HIV Messaging and Songs to compliment the Life Matters Programme on Gig Rig Community and School Outreaches.

Happy faces

Matriculation Results are in. The fourteen children on the Youth Programme taking matriculation exams have all passed. Four received Bachelors and five gained Diplomas. The other five received a standard pass. Many of the students were on the soccer team and came from Alma where Boys 2 Men ran a homework club.

Zach, the Director of Timothy House, married Stefina on 23rd November 2013 at ~ Timothy House, which was a very happy event.

 

July’s Story

July Letsebe in South Africa

“Just eight years ago, July Letsebe was lying on his bed, seriously ill and waiting to die. But thankfully, after discovering he was HIV positive, he was given the right medication, is now healthy, and is helping others to access life saving treatment.

When July first became ill, he refused medical treatment and instead sought the advice of a healer – a common practice in rural parts of South Africa. But after a few months, he was bedridden and barely able to move. He felt desperate. “I asked my family to help me die, but they refused,” he says.

One day, a team of carers from a local project, the Waterberg Welfare Society, visited July’s tiny shack. When they saw how ill he was, they offered to drive him to the government clinic once a day for medical care. At the clinic, July received life-saving treatment for tuberculosis and also discovered that he was HIV positive.

In an incredibly brave step, he decided to reveal his HIV status at a local community event to encourage others to get tested. “People were shocked,” he says, “I could see the expression of disbelief in their faces.”

As he slowly recovered, July started training to become an HIV counsellor so that he could help other people who are living with the virus.

“AIDS does not actually kill people – lack of knowledge about it does,” says July, who manages Stepping Forward, a Comic Relief-funded HIV project in Vaalwater, South Africa. And, as someone who has lived with HIV for almost ten years, he knows what he’s talking about.

Today, thanks to HIV medication, July is healthy and is making sure that other people in remote rural areas of South Africa have access to life-saving HIV testing and treatment.”